September 14th, 2010
01:41 PM ET

Doctor sued for 'branding' patient's uterus

Dr. Red Alinsod is being sued for engraving his patient's name on her uterus.

A California gynecologist is being sued for branding a patient's name on her uterus using an "electrocautery device."

Dr. Red Alinsod removed Ingrid Paulicivic's uterus during an operation at his Orange County office in 2006, according to the complaint posted on The Smoking Gun's website. The Laguna Beach doctor carved "Ingrid" on the organ, according to the site, because he "did not want to get it confused with others."

Alinsod told the site that labeling of body parts in that manner is not typical. But, he said, he "felt comfortable putting her name on the uterus" since the 47-year-old hairdresser was a "good friend."

Paulicivic's attorney, Devan Mullins, told CNN.com that his client did not know her physician before consulting him for the operation. Paulicivic and her husband learned of the branding during a follow-up visit, the lawyer said.

During that visit, Paulicivic complained to Alinsod about burns to her leg that she suffered during the operation, Mullins told CNN.com. The doctor was looking at images that were taken during the operation, and the couple asked for copies.

"Alinsod hesitated to give them the photos," the attorney said, sparking the couple's suspicion that something was wrong. The doctor told the couple that he didn't know how to copy the images, so the husband, who is a photographer, showed Alinsod how to move the images to a memory card, and the couple took them, Mullins said.

Later in the husband's office, the couple looked at the photos and were shocked to see "Ingrid" spelled out in inch-high letters on her uterus.

"They reacted like anyone would react - 'Oh my God, I cannot believe this happened,' " the lawyer said.

The couple hired Mullins, who tried for 90 days to notify Alinsod of an impending complaint, but the doctor did not react. "That's what's been odd - that we've gotten no response from him whatsoever," Mullins said.

CNN.com spoke with Alinsod's office manager Tuesday, who said that the physician was seeing patients and that he would not comment on the litigation.

According to Alinsod's website, he formerly headed gynecologic services at George Air Force Base in California and Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. He was affectionately called a "Combat Gynecologist" by his colleagues, it says.

Post by:
Filed under: Courts • Health Care
soundoff (825 Responses)
  1. Sam Elia

    TO "lawyers are very very bad" – Your post said it all in a nutshell. Here's an example of a couple of parasites, who would like to "steal" money rather than actually work hard and enjoy a comfortable life at their own hands. There are many, many people like this. Not only are they disgustingly pathetic, they're also clueless about integrity, honor, self-esteem, morality, and the list goes on. I love all people, and wish for this couple that they one day come to understand the consequences of their behavior and the nature of their thoughts, and make good changes to themselves. Their life will then be so much better, so much happier, and so not in need of somebody else's money to be happy.

    September 19, 2010 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. iateurcookie

    Regarding "who cares" and all of the comments that it's "medical waste," you have no clue regarding the emotions involved in losing a body part, particularly an organ like the uterus. I worked in Pathology for years, and patients have even come down to the room to see their removed body part. It's emotional. It's a loss of a part of you.

    It's normal to label specimens sent to pathology as "A," "B," etc. Considering the doc was removing one uterus at a time, there would be no danger of confusing it with others removed. My thoughts were this was his attempt at humor. He's got a uterus sitting there with "Ingrid" on it. Unfortunately, some physicians perform so many procedures and become so desensitized to the fact that there's a human involved - it becomes just another body part to them.

    Just because you (think you) wouldn't care if one of your organs were labeled in such a way after it was removed from you doesn't mean it's right or that your lack of emotional reaction should be the standard that all adhere to. There are professional rules of conduct and protocols for hysterectomies and other organ removals. Carving a patient's initials on removed organs isn't one of them. The doc's attempt at humor shows a lack of sensitivity and judgment. While I think the calls for him to lose his license are overboard, I think he needs to be disciplined for his behavior.

    September 19, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. hhrl

    Questionable? Yes. Worth the settlement they're obviously ogling? No.

    September 19, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mekhong Kurt

    While I can see the point of those arguing that it was just medical waste anyway (and of those speculating she and her husband may just be after barrels of money), go a little further down a speculative lane. . . .

    Let's say I have to have my leg amputated just below the knee. Obviously, my now-severed lower leg is straight medical waste, and, one would think, disposed of according to normal procedure. And let's further say the surgeon for some reason found my amputated body part attractive enough he (or she) thought it a shame to simply dispose of it. (We won't go into the fact that said doctor would be in serious need of a psychiatrist, straitjacket, and a nice, quiet room.)

    However, what on earth is half-a-leg good for anyway???

    AHA!

    An UMBRELLA HOLDER! A taxidermist with the right skills could indeed fashion it into such, as they do (or used to do, anyway) with elephant legs. (Maybe the doctor and taxidermist could share the psychiatrist, if not the straitjacket and nice, quiet room.)

    Ethically, would the doctor in the little fairytale I just told be innocent of any wrongdoing, as some here believe the doctor in this case is?

    Food for thought . . .

    September 19, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    First!

    September 20, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. gina

    t really not an action for sueing the uteru was removed ,its waste so why trying to get rich be greatfull that the doc. made your health better by removing what was not good

    September 20, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. asdasas

    Weird, but this woman is just looking for a lawsuit. It's not like she was planning on holding on to the uterus. Bunch of idiots in the world today.

    September 20, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Confused

    Where in the article does it say the uterus is gone/discarded medical waste? He could have had to remove it to tend to any number of gynecological issues and replaced it when done; now with scar tissue on it.

    The article does not have enough information to make a truly informed opinion however I would tend to say that when performing a surgery you shouldn't have addt'l misc organs lying about to confuse with the current patient!!??

    September 21, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Kilcourtney

      I would have fried it up and served it with a nice chianti, Clarice.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kilcourtney

    I would have wrote "sterile" on it myself.

    September 21, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rainbo

    Ok, I am confused. I don't get what he did wrong.

    September 22, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tracy

    I'm happy to see most comments here agree this is probably a case of a couple just looking to make a quick buck. My biggest complaint is CNN's sensationalized heading "branded" across the top of the story in an attempt to make readers think the MD actually "branded" a woman's uterus while still in her body. The story goes on to explain that essentially nothing happened worth the grandstanding CNN gave this story. I think I'll start reading "The National Enquirer"...it practices better Journalism.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mel

    I remember a time when I would ready the occasional CNN article and think, "Wow, that story didn't make a lot of sense. They left out a lot of seemingly key facts." Is it just me, or are 75% of them this way now? How did the patient get leg burns, and are the burns still the basis for the lawsuit? I don't see how labeling her removed uterus is important or interesting in any way. In fact, I think it seems pretty smart. I'm sure it was going to a pathologist for review and mix-ups do happen. But I suppose it's not standard practice, so he felt a little weird about it once it came up. And after reading some of the stupid comments here, I guess he was right to feel nervous...? By the way, I'm pretty sure he labeled it AFTER removal. Labeling it before would be completely illogical, not to mention pretty difficult I would think.
    Person to who offered to feed spleen to seagulls ... HA!

    September 23, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tiffany Bond

    Who cares! Didn't he remove it? If so isn't it going to be disposed of anyway? This is stupid and they are idiots.

    September 26, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tiffany Bond

    Boo!Hoo!

    September 26, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Wizechatmgr

    She should be happy that he and the rest of the OR team exhibited enough professionalism that she is here today to be able to sue him.

    Her burns were likely 1st or 2nd degree, these things happen. Maybe next time she'll read the consent paperwork. [humor implied]

    October 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35